How to Beat Race Day Nerves

It’s not a secret that I like to race a lot.  In fact, I’ve written posts about how to “race well,” or even “racing my way to fitness”.  It works well for me as I typically train very easy throughout the week.

Since I race so frequently, racing doesn’t make me as nervous anymore.  I get more nervous before a workout than I do before a race.  Thinking out loud, I suppose that has come with both time and just racing a lot.

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me how I beat race nerves and if I would be open to writing a post about it.

The short answer is: race until you’re not as nervous anymore. 

I’m sure you wanted the long answer though.

Here are a few strategies I use to Beat Race Day Nerves:

Before the Race:

Visualize:

This is more something to do before the actual race.  The day before I plan to race (if I plan too), I like to visualize goals and success.  It’s actually something I picked up in collegiate swimming. Running is 90% mental, and if you believe you’ll do well, you’ve already won most of the battle.

Look Back at Your Training Logs:

Look at those workouts you didn’t think you would crush but you did.  This is motivational for bigger races, when you are tapering, or bored.  There is always “that run” during a training cycle that you didn’t think you’d make it through but you did.  Remember that one, versus the ones that you didn’t feel great during.

At the Race:

Stay Distracted:

For some people that are listening to music, for others (like me), that is talking nonstop until the race starts.  If we meet at a race, know that I am 100% cool with chatting up until the gun goes off.  Stay distracted and relaxed.

Get Away from the Start Line:

During shorter races such as a 5k, this is easy because I need to warm up.  I don’t warm up before half marathons (my top 5 half marathons have had zero warmup…maybe some walking).  Getting away from the start line allows you to stay relaxed and not think about it as much.

 

Remember This:

Races are typically the morning of your day.  It’s not more than a few hours of your morning, and when it’s done, you move on.  You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst).  Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you.  Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture.  Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.

You are still the same person whether you PR or PW (personal worst).  Your family, friends, and everyone else still loves you.  Sometimes we get too wrapped up in the sport that we don’t think about the big picture.  Before every race, I just think: good or bad, whatever happens…happens and there is no need to stress about it.

Racing is supposed to be exciting and fun.  You should look forward to it not dread it.  If you dread it, there is no point in doing it right?

Related Posts:

Who Cares Where You Run?

Care Free Training

How to Bounce Back from a Bad Race

Questions for you:

Do you race a lot?

How do you beat race day (or any day) nerves?

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Training: Recovering and Racing

Most of last week was spent recovering from the Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon.  By Wednesday, my legs felt decent.  Which was great because the rest of my week was filled with longer work days.  Nothing I couldn’t handle though.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 30 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)
Sunday: 6.5-mile tempo run/total miles 14
Total: 44-47

Progression:

Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)

Week 11: 44-47 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

Easy Runs:

As I mention every week, my easy runs were just that easy.  There was nothing of excitement and most of them were hot and sticky.  You don’t have to be exciting to blog and this is just a classic example.

Heroes to Hero 5k (18:41)

Fastest 5k since April 1st. 18:41 with a progression of splits (6:05, 6:04, 6:01)

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

I’ll have a full recap of the Heroes to Hero Run in the next few days.   On paper, it’s my fastest 5k since coming back from burnout.

To be honest, I never felt good.  On Saturday morning, I woke up exhausted and tired. While running the race, I felt as though I wasn’t getting any more tired but just running and zoned out.  Even before the race, my good friend said: “woah Hollie, you look exhausted and out of it” and I was.  My splits were 6:05, 6:04, 6:01, so it was definitely a nice progression (which almost never happens).

Other than the race, nothing too exciting last week.  This week I’m tapering down for the Runners World Half Marathon Race series.  It will be a busy weekend, and I’ll be racing both the 5k and the 13.1.  I will be honest, that I don’t feel as prepared for the race as I would like but I would rather be undertrained than overtrained.

The festival is a lot of fun and this year, my dad, is running the half which will make it even more enjoyable!

Running Posts from the Week:
Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon
Who Cares Where You Run?
Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

Questions for you:
What was your best workout last week?
How long does it take you to recover from races?

Who Cares Where You Run?

Like anything in the world, many people including myself, are guilty of the comparison trap.  Now that social media is everywhere, it has become much easier to compare.

The constant changes in weather and hurricane season caused me to think of justifying where or when you’re running.

My personal mentality for running is simple:

Run When and Where You’re Most Happy

If you like running in the morning, night, inside, or outside, do what makes you the happiest.  As long as you’re happy, you’re a “real runner” but alas a post for another day.

The weather got me thinking out loud about justifying yourself.  Before social media, we felt as though we had no one to report back too.

If we wanted to run on the treadmill…fine…if we wanted to run outside…fine.  

There wasn’t a “which one is better” or “you aren’t a real runner if you run inside” type of mentality.

We didn’t go for a run and immediately upload it to whatever social media website preference.  I am as guilty as anyone for doing this.  I post my training logs weekly, I post photos on Instagram, and I love a good race recap.

With social media, it is much easier to fall into the comparison trap.  You can compare running where, why, how, when, how much…the list is endless.  Anything you want to compare, you can.

For instance, it’s easy to tell someone to get outside. It’s easy to say there is never an excuse to run inside.  Critiquing someone else is easy…but you know what?

 Who Cares?

Who cares if you run inside or outside?  At least you are getting out there doing your thing. Personally, I hate running outside in pouring, freezing rain.  It’s miserable, I look a mess and honestly it’s just not fun.  Sometimes I would instead zone out on the treadmill and catch on TV inside.  Maybe I want to use the treadmill for pacing.  Whatever the reason, I just want to run inside. I don’t ever plan to justify my decision of where I run…I just do what makes me happy.

Sometimes I would instead zone out on the treadmill and catch on TV inside.  Maybe I want to use the treadmill for pacing.  Whatever the reason, I just want to run inside. I don’t ever plan to justify my decision of where I run…I just do what makes me happy.

To those who think the only running is outside…that is false.

To those who think the only race out there is the marathon…also false.

To those who think there is no reason to ever run inside…

LOLZ, sorry running in the 35-degree rain is not fun.  I spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 racing in those conditions, and it was not pleasant.

I love shamrock…but the weather no

Running in hail is not fun.

Running in 120-degree weather is not fun.

Or what if you are short on time and want to catch up on your favorite TV show and fit a run in?  I think that’s better than sitting on your couch catching up TV?

Some people are not comfortable running outside, and it’s essential (for others) to realize that people do what they are comfortable.  Safety should always be a runners number 1 priority.

Finally, the majority of us are never going to be elite athletes, and we don’t need to have a rigid plan.  Even elites athletes use all sorts of methods.  Some elites love the treadmill, high mileage or low mileage.  We do what makes us happy and what is best for our personal needs.

Life is too short to do something that makes you miserable.  Running outside in the rain is miserable, and I feel no need to justify that to anyone.

I guess I’m thinking about the ways social media has affected our running.  Before social media, we ran how we felt like it.  If we felt like running outside, we did.  If we felt like running inside, we did.  If we felt like training for a 5k, we did…a marathon…we did.

Social media will always cause us to compare.  It’s something tough to avoid in our modern day world.  My point is that not to put others down because where and how they choose to run.

We are all one giant community of runners and human beings.  We do what makes us happy and move on with it.

Relevant Posts: 

Care Free Running
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Running on an AntiGravity Treadmill

Questions for you:
Where is your favorite place to run?
What are you thinking about today?

September Workouts: I am Actually Training

September was the first month in a long time I felt like “running me”.  Not me in peak shape, or me ready to conquer a goal race, but just LOLZ that actually runs.

The other day, I had a conversation with someone on base and they said: “wow Hollie I’ve never seen you in running clothes before”.  But, the blogging world says the complete opposite or: “wow, Hollie do you ever comb your hair”.

It’s a funny thing, priorities change and running is always there.  With that, here is my log for the month:

Miles Run: 150-160
Paces: 5:55-10:30-mostly untimed
Shortest Run: 2 mile cooldown
Longest Run: Air Force Half Marathon
Rest Days: 4
Workouts: 1 (45-minute tempo run)

Races:
Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
Dragon Run (19:06)
Favorite Race:
Air Force Half Marathon

Thoughts:

I’m slowly building up my mileage.  Most older readers know me as someone as who typically runs anywhere from 60-80 miles when I’m in peak shape and primed for a PR.  I’ve been working my way up there but have stayed in the 40s for the last month.  It’s been a good spot for me right now to balance everything between life and running.  If everything progresses as it has, I do plan to continue increasing my mileage into the 50s next month.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Other than that, I’m feeling good about my mileage.  Knock on wood, I’m healthy and injury free.  My plan for October is simple: to continue building my mileage and frequently racing as workouts.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

Running Posts from the Month:
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Techniques to Help Recover Faster
Staying Fit During the Off Season
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How was your month of September?

Care Free Training

I haven’t really posted about my actual training in a while or where I want it to go.  I post my training log and progression since coming back from my break, but quite frankly I’m just running.  I am enjoying the journey to get back to fitness and taking it one step at a time.  I have no interest in training for a big marathon (or a small one), and I don’t have a goal race picked out for any distance.  Thinking out loud, I’m just slowly working my way back.

And you know what? 

I’m enjoying how my running is going right now.  I have absolutely no pressure to do anything (not that I ever had pressure beforehand) but now I have even less pressure.  In training and sometimes even life, I’ve always been one to fly by the seat of pants.  Now more than ever, that is relevant.  With my husband’s career, I can’t tell you I’ll be in New Jersey for the next year.  I can’t sign up for a race 6 months out because I don’t know.  We didn’t know we would go down to Alabama for 6 weeks last January, until a couple of weeks beforehand. I missed races I had signed up before in NJ during that time.

In my training, I normally have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan written down.

For instance, during a training week, my thoughts begin like this: This week I’ll attempt to run between 40-45 miles with five miles of speed somewhere…is it a race…maybe I’ll have to see what is around…if nothing works with my schedule, I’ll just do a workout. That is the extent of my scheduling and planning.

So Does Not Planning Really Help Me?

I have actually found that it does and it does a lot.  First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace.  I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace.  It’s still 10 base miles.  I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile.  That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere.  Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.

When talking with a friend, I realized that it hasn’t always been that way for me.

I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers.  There was a point in my running career that I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week.  That pace was between 7-7:10.  Do you know what I gave myself?  The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.

Not to mention, during that period I never got faster, and I was miserable the entire time.   I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance.  It sounds silly now, but that is what the new runner in me thought.

Train fast to go fastRace myself and try and get faster every day.

For stat purposes: during that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10.  I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.

Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL).  During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 9-minute pace.

My half marathon PR then was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.57.

But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it.  For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress.

So for me personally, not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running.  Last fall, when my coach and I focused on paces, I found myself in a similar situation.  Burnout and not improving.

I can’t tell anyone how to train and what works for them and nor do I want too.  I’m telling you how liberating it is for me to be carefree about pace.

What it took for me to get to that point to relax my training wasn’t easy.  Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten here.  From injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.

I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.

Relevant Posts:

Techniques to Recover Faster

Cross Training

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

Questions for you:

What are your thoughts?

Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Each year, I go to the Runners World festival, I get the opportunity to learn more about the brand and company.  Altra also gives bloggers a pair of shoes (of their choice).Altra also gives bloggers a pair of shoes (of their choice).  This year I knew the most about the Altra Escalante because we carry it at work and requested that model.  I was lucky that Altra was extremely receptive and sent me the Escalante.As most people know, Altra is known for a wider toe box.  As the founder Golden has said, it’s not a “wide” shoe but it’s foot shaped.

As most people know, Altra is known for a wider toe box.  As the founder Golden has said, it’s not a “wide” shoe but it’s foot shaped.  Well my foot is wide.  Altra is actually more narrow through the arch and heel which makes it a better fit for most people’s feet.

The other component Altra is known for is their “zero drop” shoe format.  This means the heel and the forefront are at the same level and flat.  It doesn’t mean it’s a minimalist shoe, but it is flat.

The Fit: 

I do believe the Altra Escalante is one of the better fitting running shoes right now.  I usually wear between 10-11 wide in my shoes, and in the Escalante, I wear a comfortable size 10.

The upper is made from a stretchy knit which means there are no seams to rub on feet.  It’s accommodating and with minimal seams, there aren’t pressure points.  This is especially important for someone who might deal with bunions or a wide forefront. The heel counter hugs the heel, so while the toe box is roomy, there isn’t any heel slippage.

me altra escalante shoe review

Ride:

As described above, something important to note, if you have never tried Altra before they are a “zero drop” shoe.

 What does this mean?

The forefront and heel are at the same height.  If you currently run in a higher stacked or higher drop shoe, your calves might be more sore as you integrate a flatter shoe into your rotation.  To prevent injury, you should slowly work the shoe into your rotation versus starting to run in it every day.

I’ve run in a few Altra shoes including the Altra Paradigm 1.5. I prefer more cushion and don’t have a need for a trail shoe.

The Altra Escalante is the most minimal design I have chosen and I’ve used for several runs from workouts too easy runs.  When I ran my first tempo run, I felt the ground, less ground than a racing flat but more than a high cushioned shoe.  I liked how responsive it was.  

When I ran a few easy runs, I could the softness and cushion that Altra has integrated into their shoes.   In total I’ve run between 50-75 miles in the shoe and haven’t had any issues. I’ve never run in it back to back days but don’t typically do that with any of my shoes.

While all of my runs were successful in the shoe, personally I love the feeling of running tempos in the shoe. I feel like I’m giving my body more cushion than a racing flat but getting my turnover up with a flatter shoe.

Summary:

So far I’ve liked using the Escalante for workouts and as a “faster” paced shoe.  I might experiment with it as a half marathon shoe but for now, it will be my staple workout shoe.

Thank you Altra for sending me the Escalante as well as the Runners World Festival for bringing me back as a blogger.  While I was given this shoe, I wasn’t paid for the review and all opinions are my own.

My running rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks Glycerin 15
Hoka Clifton 4 (Review to Come)
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (racing)

Questions for you:
Have you tried Altra before?
Do you prefer more or less cushion in your shoes?

Workouts: 5ks and Tempos

Training last week continued to progress well.  I recovered moderately well from the Air Force Half and was able to get in both a race and a workout over the weekend.

My next bigger race is the Runners World Festival 5k and 13.1.  While I could add the 10k and complete the hat trick, I’m too injury prone for that to be a smart idea.  The 5k and 13.1 has worked well in previous years, so like running shoes if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 30 minutes/core
Wednesday: Easy 45 minutes/core
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 5k (18:59.8) Total miles: 8
Sunday: 6.5 mile tempo (average 7:03 pace) total miles: 14/core

Total: 43-45

Thoughts:

My easy runs were just that, easy and recovery.  I don’t have anything to note about them, but boring isn’t a bad thing.

Saturday: Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)

There were several 5ks in the area but to be honest, I didn’t make a decision to do any of them until Friday.  I ran by myself for the week, so I was kind of getting tired of it.  I knew I was going to run before work anyway and thought a hard effort would be good.  Plus, I use the Cherry Hill Library periodically (get it…).  I ended up taking over the lead around halfway and never looking back.  I’m happy with how the race went, I didn’t feel loose or fresh but I shouldn’t a week after my long run either.

Sunday: 2 mile warmup/6.5 mile tempo (7:03 average)/5.5 cool down

As I mentioned on Instagram, my next big race is the Runners World Festival where I’ll run the 5k and 13.1.  I’ll do a few 5ks before, but I’ll taper down for the Festival.  That being said, I need to train my body to race back to back days.  Last year around this time, I trained similarly, and it was when I felt the fittest.  7:03 is far from where I would like to be, but the first workout is always humbling.

Progression: 
Week 1: 31-33 miles
Week 2: 33-35 miles
Week 3: 33-35 miles (1 workout)
Week 4: 35-37 miles (1 workout)
Week 5: 29-31 miles
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)

I’m happy with my progression, I do believe it’s going well.  

Posts from the Week:
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Techniques to Help Recover Faster

Questions for you:
Have you run multiple races in a weekend? 
When I’m fit, I seem to have some of my best races while doing 2 races in a weekend and running easy the rest of the week.  I’m not there just yet.
What was your best workout last week?